Coke story, student sample

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Coca-Cola will change the iconic coloring of its traditional and diet soda cans.

The traditional Coke soda can will be pink instead of red. The Diet Coke can will keep its traditional silver packaging, but the script will be pink.

The Coca-Cola Foundation will donate two percent of profits from sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on finding a cure for the disease.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, every year over 246,660 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 die. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

John Farmer, a Coca-Cola spokesperson, says the beverage giant has donated to the cause for the past few decades, but now would like to show company-wide support for breast cancer survivors.

The can takeover will only take place from September to October, but the company will continue its philanthropic efforts throughout the year.

According to the Coca-Cola Foundation, over $900 million has been awarded to their foundation since 1984. In 2016, Coca-Cola donated $106 million in funds through 230 organizations.

In the past, Coca-Cola has put polar bears on their soda cans to bring awareness to global warming and raise money for the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund.


Photo Captions


• Photo caption (first sentence) should identify the people, place and action in the photo.

• Second sentence (if needed) should lend context and perspective to the photo. Perhaps why the action was significant or how it fits into the bigger picture or story being told.

• Clearly and accurately identify the people and location that appear in the photo.

• Be brief. Write tight. Captions are typically one or two lines. You have to really justify writing three or more.

• Overall, help the reader understand what he or she is looking at.


Write a caption for this photo. Here are the facts: The woman running in the photo is Becky Flanagan. She competed in the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon, held this past Sunday, Aug. 30. Becky won the race and set a new swim course record. More than 10,500 diverse triathletes—including former Olympians, physically challenged, elite amateurs and first-time participants—competed in the 28th annual race. Flanagan is 31-years-old.


Alternative Leads

Here are some versions of the African wildlife relocation lead…

Lions stalking deer in the stubble of a Nebraska corn field. Elephants trumpeting across Colorado’s high plains. Cheetah slouching through the West Texas scrub. Prominent ecologists are floating an audacious plan that sounds like a “Jumanji” sequel — transplant African wildlife to the Great Plains of North America.  –Source AP

Only an eyeblink of evolutionary time separates the contemporary Great Plains from one resembling the savannas of Africa. It’s not a perfect resemblance, but close enough that ecologists have considered “rewilding” the Great Plains with African mammals.  –Source Wired

Bison beware, a certain roaring predator could soon roam the same prairie

A group of biologists and ecologists have devised a plan to relocate African animals, such as lions and giraffes, to the Great Plains of North America to save these endangered species from extinction.

Prairie dogs, meet Simba.


Brush With Death

The assignment due next week is a short feature scene on your subject’s life-changing or scariest moment, a moment in time from any period of his or her life that left a lasting impact. Target 400-550 words, but don’t pad. Word count can go higher if you need. Just focus on the moment. Be objective. Don’t pass judgement on any aspects. Let the details/specifics tell the story. Again, all the 5Ws and how and so what. Use at least one direct quote from your story. Let the story have a narrative arch. Tease the scene in the lead, perhaps, and then go in chronological order. Here is one example of this.

Jason Smith literally knows what a ton of bricks feel like. At age 9, Smith was buried under such a pile of rubble.

Now I want to know more!!! How this 9-year-old got to this point, and how he got out. And what the moment did to him both physically and mentally.

From Outside Magazine, a story of a surfer’s brush with death and the impact on his life. Pay particular attention to how the writer recounts the details of the accident.


Feature samples

Here are some feature samples:

Historical feature, such as this one. The 50th anniversary of the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

Adventure feature, an exciting or harrowing experience like this one about a boy lost in the waves. 

Seasonal features: tied to season or holiday like Mother’s Day

How to do it features, like a health story about how to breath properly.

Occupation or hobby stories. How about this story of a 17-year-old rock climber.

Behind-the-Scenes feature, like this one on staging a ballet production

Here is a trend story on Sriracha sauce0002446306109_500X500


A profile on author William ZinsserAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH




A feature on a newsworthy place, a kitchen for food start-ups.




From Sri Lanka to Baltimore, a young life examined

Jerome Chelliah graduates this May from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a master’s degree.

Jerome Chelliah spent his first 11 years as a refugee in Sri Lanka, an island country torn apart by years of civil war. Planes would frequently drop bombs near his home, forcing his family to flee to bunkers for safety. With no police force, crime and violence were rampant.

         Aided by an uncle, Chelliah and his parents emigrated in 2001 to the San Francisco Bay area. “My parents took a chance and said, We’ll go try out America and see if it works,” says Chelliah, an MPH candidate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health who will graduate this May. “When you live in a war zone, everything seems exciting that involves leaving the war zone. But it many ways, America was more of an idea than a country for me.”

         The transition to life in the United States was far from seamless. Chelliah had to learn English. His parents, who hadn’t graduated from high school, couldn’t find jobs right away to sustain the family. And, for the first time, Chelliah had to confront an array of prejudices. In Sri Lanka, he says, everyone was poor, but now he lived among affluence. “I had been poor my whole life, but this was the first time I dealt with poverty in a tangible way.” He also realized he was now considered a minority and “a person of color,” with their own unique realities. And, when he came of age, he says, he realized he was gay.

         Chelliah says he had a difficult time expressing to his parents his inner turmoil, for fear he would upset them, as they had sacrificed so much to start over. He turned to food for solace. “I basically ate my feelings,” he says. “All I did was eat and study.” The 5-foot-10 young man entered high school weighing 250 pounds.

         “High school was probably the most difficult time of my life,” he says. “I had to live life on multiple boundaries of prejudice. It became hard to parse out where the prejudices came from.”

         In his junior year, Chelliah came to a turning point. He decided to take ownership of his destiny and told himself: Either you can let life happen you, or happen you.

         “That became my mantra. The very fact that I survived a civil war meant that I must utilize my life for something larger than myself.”

         He dedicated himself to self-improvement. He found fitness and portion control, and during that summer shed some 40 pounds. As a senior, he applied himself to studies like never before. He enrolled at the University of California, Davis to pursue a degree in neurobiology, then took a year off to teach in a private high school in Sacramento before going to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. After his third year, he applied to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to explore health care management and the health of populations. He was awarded a Sommer Scholar scholarship, which provided full tuition and a stipend.

         At JHU, Chelliah learned many valuable lessons, he says, such as working as a team on issues much larger than your own.

         “For us to have individual triumph, we need to be thinking about collective triumph. That is one big thing I’m taking away from here,” says Chelliah, who now will return to UCSF to finish his final year of medical school. After his residency, he says, he has his sites on health administration, ideally in the LGBT arena.


Speech Story samples

Due next week is a short news story based on the Tedx Talk of David Linden at UNC. What is newsworthy about the talk is NOT that he gave one, but rather his unique view on the subject of touch. Why do humans needs touch? What is his central argument or point? Keep this story straight and objective. The facts and details about HOW touch works–and the research that has proved it–should interest the readers. He offered a lot of specifics for the mechanism of touch, and real world examples. Use them. What fascinated you about the sense of touch? This needs to be all original reporting. Use primary sources, which are the speech itself and Dr. Linden’s website, where you should go to confirm his title at Johns Hopkins University. You’re summarizing his talk and his main points. Do NOT feel obliged to use everything he told you. You won’t. Some of his points can be boiled down to a sentence.

Here is a newspaper story on the Ted Talk of Pulitzer-Prize winner Sonia Nazario

And here is the story on Stephen Colbert’s talk before a show where he told the audience how he met his wife.

For both of these, go back to the original video/talk to see just what the author summarized and kept in the story, and what they left out. What quotes did they use. How did they set them up? Of course, there are millions of samples of speech stories online. Person X gave an interesting talk on a subject and the media covered it. For this assignment, I would encourage you to look for other science-related talks, whether another TED talk or a symposium speaker.



Feature Pitches

Due Tuesday, April 18 will be your pitches for the final story, the enterprise feature. You can submit to my Towson email address like you did last time. In short, this final story is a short feature on a newsworthy subject. For your pitch, I want to know four things. What is the focus of the story? Who would your primary sources be? Why is it newsworthy? And why now? Meaning, what is the news peg. You might do a profile on someone coming to speak at Towson University. The news peg then would be their appearance at TU, or perhaps they have a new book/show they are promoting. Keep your pitch realistic. Pick a subject you have access to, and can report on within the time frame. Keep the pitch specific. Don’t say: ‘I want to write a feature on domestic or sexual violence.’ Rather, you might say: I plan to write a story on [name] who was a victim of sexual assault, and now speaks about the topic on college campuses. She’s promoting a new program that will launch this spring, and I’ll arrange an interview with her on campus. I plan to talk with her about the new program and why she’s gone public. I’ll also contact the Towson University Counseling Center to see what resources there are at TU for victims, and use national statistics from RAINN and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Pick a topic you’re interested in and excited to write about. Something you may not know much about, but want to find out more.

Here is the information from the syllabus.

Story 4- ENTERPRISE STORY: News Feature/Profile: This should be based on at least three interviews (in-person) and focus on the material developed from your questioning of the subjects. Ideally, you interview your subject in a relevant location to the story’s focus. For example, for a feature on varsity team’s coach, you’d want to interview him or her in their office, on the practice field, and maybe observe them on game day. You do this to get good details and quotes that will illustrate your subject. Stories can focus on societal trends (e.g., body piercing, health habits, Social Media), community issues (public safety, construction) and events (a milestone anniversary for a program) or any subject deemed newsworthy. Follow-up or localized stories to hard news stories are also fine. You may decide to do a profile. For example, you could write a story on an artist, a Towson athlete, a faculty member or anybody with a unique and interesting story to tell. Keep in mind that you could (and should, in some cases) interview the subject’s friends, co-workers, peers, critics, family, etc. You may not interview your own friends or relatives unless you receive my prior approval. The story should be between 650-1000 words.